This tweet got my FULL attention on Valentine's Day because one of my all-time favorite romance novel tropes is morally grey heroes and heroines. I even did a whole post one time about why villains are so much sexier than heroes. And then there was the time I talked about villains who deserved amazing redemption arcs. And then there was that time I talked about why I loved sexy villains and wouldn't apologize for it. And then there was the time...well, you get the picture. I do love me a sexy villain. So, with that in mind, I wanted to share a list of romance novels that feature characters who have done some villainous things (maybe even for some decent reasons), but still found their happily ever afters--because contrary to what JJ Abrams thinks, when you turn back to the light, you don't have to DIE to find redemption and forgiveness:
Beautiful Russian Monster by Odette Stone
Viktor is ex-mafia, a former military badass who gets blackmailed into kidnapping an heiress to save his friends. His honorable to the core, but he HAS done some shady stuff. And he's not afraid to break the law to get the job done, so he fits nicely into the "morally grey but sexy AF" category.
Redemption by Kenya Wright
Yoshiro is an ex-mafia hitman who will go to ANY lengths to protect the woman he falls for, and her family. And when I say "any", I mean he's willing to get SUPER creative when it comes to ridding the heroine of an incredibly pesky ghost from her past. Seriously...you'll be shocked (in the best possible way).
Caped and Dangerous by Isabel Jordan
Killian has done some seriously shady stuff to win his superheroine's heart. This one is light, trigger free, and ALL kinds of fun (and hot).
Dark Protector by Celia Aaron
Hitman-turns-protector--and it's ALL kinds of hot.
The Risk by ST Abby
Lana is a highly trained badass who is slowly and methodically (and painfully) exacting bloody revenge on the men who brutalized her and her family. All is going swimmingly...until she falls for the FBI hottie assigned to catch her. Ooops...
Mercy by Debra Anastasia
Mercy is a hitman who loves Becca from afar...and by "afar" I mean he's stalking her. But he has a good reason, I swear!
Kissing My Killer by Helena Newbury
She's a hacker. Alexi is Russian mafia, sent to kill her. Only once he sees her, he can't do it. They go on the run together as he fights to keep her alive. *dreamy sigh*
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
I mean, the title kinda gives this one away, doesn't it? But what the title doesn't tell you is that this is a fun, light-hearted, witty banter-filled joyride of a book. And before you say anything, yes, it's expensive. I can assure you it's worth it, though. (And if it's outside your budget, check the library. You can almost always find Crusie gems there.)
Reaper by A. Zavarelli
Ronan is Irish mob, and he'll do ANYTHING to keep the woman he's loved from afar for forever safe. ANYTHING, I said. (Also: virgin hero alert. Squee!)
Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas
He's ruthless, and not afraid to take Helen's virtue if it means she'll be with him forever. And I have NO doubt that he'd do anything Helen asked of him, no matter shady it was, and he'd do it gleefully. That, in my mind, makes him the perfect blend of morally grey (on the lighter side of it) and SEXY AF.
But those are just MY picks. What about you? Let's discuss!